Bibliography for Atheism, Darwinism, and the Problem of Final Causality

The following works will be consulted for my Atheism and the New Atheism project in PHTH 619: Epistemology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary on “The Absence of Final Causality in the Empirical Sciences.”  While the absence of final causes is completely permissible  as part of the description of reality from an empirically based study, to deny its existence is completely false and unjustified. The freely ordered and created world in which nature acts for an end (to include that rational creatures can act rationally towards an end) will be discussed in reference to this main point.

Clarke, W. Norris, S.J. The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001. This work, besides providing a good overview of the four causes as understood in an Aristotelian and Thomistic sense, provides, in Chapter 15, an excellent account of the problems and possible solutions of The Metaphysics of Evolution.

Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species. New York, NY: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004. Darwin’s book was obviously revolutionary. Here, it will be referenced to see what Darwin originally said.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. New York, New York: First Mariner Books, 2006. This work shows a typical position taken by a contemporary empirical scientist on the value of empirical study, while dismissing and/or misunderstanding the place of final causality in the greater sum of human knowledge of the world around us.

Gilson, Etienne. From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again: A Journey in Final Causality, Species, and Evolution. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2009. A quote from this work is sufficient to show its usefulness (and indeed priority) in this project. “If the scientist refuses to include final causality in his interpretation of nature, all is in order; his interpretation of nature will be incomplete, not false…To hold final causality to be beyond science is one thing; to put it beyond nature is something completely different.” (pg. 31)

Jaki, Stanley L. The Savior of Science. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, July 2000. This book examines the central role of Christian belief as it affects the empirical sciences. The two central beliefs of creation ex nihilo and of the one and only historical event of the Incarnation are central to the development of science, and we see their influence in the advances made in the Christian west compared to the stagnant lack of advances made in other parts of the world. These two central beliefs lead to the philosophical assurance of an intelligible world and therefore the reality of final causality.

Rizzi, Anthony. The Science Before Science. Baton Rouge, LA: IAP Press, 2004. This book sets forth a balanced understanding of what the empirical sciences can prove and cannot prove, as well as what constitutes a “proof” and/or a theory in the empirical sciences. It also demonstrates, from the knowledge of a distinguished physicist, why the knowledge gained in the empirical sciences must understood within rather than try to supersede the greater field of wisdom known as philosophy, to include the four causes of natural philosophy and metaphysics.

Wallace, William A. The Elements of Philosophy: A Compendium for Philosophers and Theologians. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1977. This work provides a general overview of natural philosophy (chapter 3), metaphysics (chapter 5), and epistemology (chapter 6) , as well as relevant information on the history of philosophy (especially chapter 18) and the many particulars of the philosophy of the natural sciences (chapter 11). Although the project will not go into depth in some of these areas, this reference work offers solid, concrete and clear definitions of relevant information when needed.

Wallace, William A. The Modeling of Nature. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1996. In this work, William Wallace, O.P. shows, in Part I., how contemporary scientific studies and ancient philosophical causes can be synthesized to show that they are not only compatible but bring forth a greater understanding of the world around us. In Part II, the book examines the topic of the “evolution” of the philosophy of science to show both the positive contributions of new forms of thought, along with the errors and dangers that reductionist and materialist thinking can bring to the table. Both of these aspects (Part I. Philosophy of Nature, and Part II.  Philosophy of Science) are pertinent to our study.


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  1. […] The Scholastic Tradition in the Modern World Sharing the Fruits of my Contemplation Skip to content « Bibliography for Atheism, Darwinism, and the Problem of Final Causality […]

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